Next Year They'll All Want Ponies
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I felt it the minute I woke up on Monday morning. 

Or more specifically, I didn't feel it. I didn't feel anything.

Probably not a big surprise or shocker here, but I've been struggling with my anxiety levels for awhile now. I have retyped that sentence at least 17 times, because "struggling" doesn't seem to go far enough, but alternatives like "suffering" or "practically debilitated by" seem too drama queenish.'s been bad, guys. 

On Monday, though. A switch got flipped. I woke up late vs. waking up before dawn, and instead of feeling wracked with anxiety over the day's mundane to-do list and Trump-related existential terror, I felt...nothing. Just the abyss of a depressive spiral. 

Not to get too gross-out personal (LOL AT THE SHIT IN THE ARCHIVES), but I first blamed my anxiety on hormones, and my super-irregular menstrual cycles. So I decided to try a birth control implant in my arm that my (NOW FORMER) doctor swore up and down had zero mood-related side effects and would eventually stop my periods altogether, like WOOT. I didn't need the birth control aspect (SNIP SNIP) but figured no bleeding or PMS sounded pretty great, let's give it a try!

I am getting it yanked out this afternoon by my new, much better doctor, who is like: Yeah, not really. 

(Nexplanon. Go for it if you want to bleed every two weeks and go crazy. Covered by insurance!)

The last time I got genuinely sick, it was a 50% fault of hormonal birth control (and Clomid, which sent me into a huge mental tailspin, plus a terrible med-happy doctor who just threw prescription after prescription at me, when all I probably needed was Xanax and chill), and 50% Unexamined Life Shit. I'm not sure what made me cocky enough to mess around with it again, especially in the midst of a presidential election that's sending half the country into therapy for anxiety and panic and PTSD

(The day I realized I had enough sexual assault and harassment stories to fill over an entire week's worth of blog posts was probably another tipping point, when my brain decided to start slowly powering down instead of dealing with the flood of garbage memories.)

Anyway. Hey. I'm not doing very well right now. But I realize it, and I do not intend to spend another minute wallowing in this space. I am seeing my doctor today, looking for a therapist, already on a vitamin D regimen (got officially blood-tested super deficient, so that's obviously not helping anything) and ordering a SAD light. And just sort of raising my hand here online, saying yep. Me too. 






Girl, you take care of you. Whatever way helps, try it. If the therapist doesn't click, go for another one. (I've got the name of some awesome ones in Frederick, if it comes down to it!)

Hang in there.


I just had my Nexplanon removed a couple weeks ago and I feel 1000x better. I'd gained weight (about 15lbs), my acne was out of control, I had zero sex drive and I was basically on my period for a year and a half straight (including at my wedding! That was fun), it was HORRIBLE. I'm back on the pill and while I do miss not having to think about birth control, I could not be happier. SCREW NEXPLANON!




Do what you need to do. You are being proactive and are your own best advocate. Wish I could promise getting past this @#$%! election will help (it probably will) but hopefully by then you will be in a better place thanks to Better Living Through Chemistry. We're all here for you!

Sue W

I have no assvice, so I will send you virtual hugs and tell you I hope you get back to feeling like your old self soon.


Anne Waller in Ellicott City - she specializes in postpartum depression, but also treats anxiety and depression in general


You're in my heart as always.


That's terrible, hope you feel better soon :)


Ugh, depression and anxiety suck a lot. But good for you that you're recognizing the issue and getting help. Here's to feeling better (or even just feeling) soon!


Oh Amy, I wish I could hug you.


Solidarity, sister! Proud of you for seeking help. Best wishes for feeling better soon. <3

Carrie B Cocklin

hang in there. <3


Well we love you to the moon and back. xoxoxoxox. It's been a pretty bad year for a whole lot of people, you are by no means alone, so we love you and we kind of get it.

Steph B

I'm so sorry. It's a tough time for many reasons. Big cyber hug to you. Be kind to yourself.


Take care of yourself! I'm thankful and proud of you for doing what needs to be done and "struggling" (you are right, that word isn't enough, but what other word do we have?) through and not giving up. Stay strong - you got this! We're with you! ~ L


Hang in there. Hugs. Thanks for being authentic ❤️

LD's Mom

So your honesty and transparency rocks. Certainly you know you have a whole gaggle of internet friends that love you dearly. You bring light to all of us, so we are all sincerely hoping you find some light again soon.


I'm so sorry. Here's hoping that getting the BC implant out will help tremendously, and that you get back to yourself quickly.


I've had brief bouts of numbness and I know how hard it is to go through the motions. It must have been hard to sit down and write this but I'm so glad you did. You're doing everything right and you're gonna be ok. Until that happens know that we love you for you.


I'm so sorry. And I raise my hand too--low grade anxiety, and I'm coming up on a year ago this winter realizing I was suffering from PPD. That depressive spiral...I shudder. It took awhile to really see that I was in it, but I will say that realizing I was in it was half the battle. I'm back to my normal mildly anxious self.

You see it, you're acting. It's going to get better. Thanks for telling us.


Oh I love when I decide to mess around with stuff thinking it will all be for the best best best and then... I'm practically suicidal. And I wonder why and then think "gee, maybe I'm not handling this vegan diet/birth control pill/whatever" very well. So yes, me too. Hand up. And I'm sorry you're feeling terribly at the moment, I hope it gets better very very very soon!


Cognitive Behavior Therapy (plus the right antidepressants) made me feel "normal" again.
Be sure the therapist is the right one for you-


My mom passed away 5 years ago today. One day before my 40th birthday. I actually had to sign the paperwork to take her off life support after a massive heart attack. My dad was in a nursing home after being debilitated after a surgery. I had to take care of him and my brother and nephew from 100 miles away. My dad passed 9 months later after coming home from the care home, still in a wheelchair, and very weak. I went on Prozac and Xanax after mom died, and am still on them today. I really can't imagine life without Prozac anymore. I only use the Xanax now to help me get to sleep or for bad anxiety attacks. Do what you need to do to make life easier for you. Good Luck and Hugs. Also, I am early voting today for Hillary, and trying to avoid any Trump in my life.


This is hard, I'm sorry. Anytime you want to take a walk, I know places. It's not a cure or anything, but the air is certainly easier to breathe.


Heh! Hope it gets better... Hand up here, too. after years of living in denial I finally gave in and tried Lexapro. Two weeks into it and I feel like a cloud/fog/anxiety has lifted. So yeah... Hope you find what works for you!

Shannon Mateo

On the subject of Vitamin D, I went through this same thing, super low levels and started taking drops. My vitamin D went from 23 to 100 back in July. I felt like the winner of blood work. HOWEVER IMPORTANT. I continued taking my vitamin D because no one told me not to. When I visited my specialist doctor this week he asked if I was still on the vitamin D. I said yes, and he got upset. He said when my results showed up at 100 I should have been taken off of the vitamin D because apparently you can get vitamin D toxicity, which mirrors the side effects of low vitamin D. He was pretty upset with my GP for not lowering the dose. SO. Make sure, you have follow up labs done, and once you reach normal levels, you ween down, and then only take it every few days, or once a week. He said I should feel normal again once my levels drop some.


Therapy helps a ton. I used to be filled with anxiety and I still am but I manage it better. I know hormones played a part but I just stopped all drugs or any kind and I am super careful about diet and meds that I do take. The thing the drug industry does not tell you is that you are not supposed to be on any drug for a long time especially anxiety and depression meds - they were intended to be used to help lift a mood while you were working to deal with stuff. Anyway, a lot of research on my part. It is tough. I work out a lot to stay sane - it is my medicine. I remind myself not to isolate or push people away and talk through things when they are bothering me. Hang in there.


Everyone is different, and I hope removing the Nexplanon helps. I have it and absolutely LOVE it. I haven't had my period in over 4 years. I had my first one removed at three years as you are supposed to, and had another one put right back in. It is awesome for me, but everybody is different and that is why there are hundreds of options for BC. Good luck.


Oh, lady. Good for you for recognizing this & taking action. I hope the help helps, really soon.

Lorrian Ippoliti

Take care of you. We'll be here when you are ready to come back. I prescribe many Beau snuggles. xoxoxoxoxo

Sian Bumsted

It's hard, but it does always help to say it out loud. Partly so that people can help you (because they want to), partly so all the other people out there feeling it too don't feel quite so alone. There is something to be said for normalizing saying, "I am not ok, but I know I am not, and I am trying to fix it".

Anyways, all the self-care vibes to you.


I totally feel your pain...I'm sorry that various forces have sucked you into the Vortex of Doom. I hope removing the Nexplanon helps, as well as drugs and therapy. I've been contemplating changing my depression meds (due to increasing feelings of depression), but I dread the ups and downs and weird side effects that come with the "try it and see what happens" approach to psychopharmacology. So I'm in a holding pattern. Surely we'll feel somewhat better when Hillary is finally elected (please Jesus) and we don't have to deal with Trump so much. Anyway, love and light to you.


Feel better! Perhaps a shift in your outlook on the whole sexual assault/rape culture thing going on is in order. I was depressed about it too, but then I began to see it as a positive thing. I feel positive about it because it seems like we've reached a tipping point on this issue. We are all just so tired of it and tired of not saying anything.....just seems like there was a big shift during this whole thing. I think women from here on out are much more likely to just say "F*@k Off" when confronted with it in the future.....

Dog walks are good too.....sunlight, exercise, doggy time.


SO understand and support.
Vote and turn off media on political stuff.
You did super good job identifying all factors and getting appointment for removal of contributing meds.
Get extra cuddles with pets and children.
WALK before snow falls.
Moderate applications of wine and chocolate as appropriate.
VOTE and WALK. You have LOTS of fabulous company.


Coming out of lurky loo mode to send virtual hugs and to add my voice to all these here who are rooting for you like mad.


No assvice here just lots of support and love. You have me thinking a lot. I've been really struggling lately too. Friendships and family relationships have been falling by the wayside and I'm sad and lonely all the time but I don't want to see anyone. I find myself crying myself to sleep nearly every night.I think you've inspired me and it might finally be time to do something about it.

Thank you for sharing this. You might be really helping a random internet stranger.

Rebecca Davis-Nord

So glad you're seeking additional medical support (and reversing that very unhelpful implant). I live with an anxiety disorder and I think it's important for us to talk about it, so thanks for this post. As always, wishing you the very best.

Nicole P.

You are amazing and endlessly embody the idea that you don't have to be perfect to be a role model to others. I hope you know that. Read these comments over and over again if necessary. We all care, and know the strength and courage it takes to put a name and a voice to your struggles, especially over the interwebs where douche canoes circle.


Have you tried essential oils? OMG IM JUST KIDDING.
Yes, it sucks and it's scary and then the guilt for feeling inadequate. I get it.
And the Trump related anxiety is real. I don't want to live on this planet.
Hugs, girl.


Long time reader, first time commenter. Just recovering from my 3rd anxiety attack. After 5 days of not eating and waking up before dawn, I understand how horrible it feels. I am on Lexapro to manage it (but not this last time as my doctor and I agreed I was managing my stress so well that I could go off.....oops...). I've been an active reader of your blog for years and feel like we are friends (although very one-sided)...I wish you the best and hope you are feeling well soon!

Joanna Moore

Virtual hugs!

ccr in MA

I am impressed by your awareness of where you are, and that you're taking these positive steps. Hope it all works FAST!


Damn. That's a lot of shit... I hope the worst is over now ... glad you're able to be proactive and reach out. It's admirable. And brave. And honest. And what I love about your blog. (Besides the poop stories)

Your imaginary blog friend


I feel you not feelin' it. Woke up much the same way one day and just wasn't there any longer. Lousy way to feel (or not) and a worse way to look at everything around you that means so much. Take care of you first and figure it out with whatever help gets you through the days and nights.

Heather Laura Clarke

I feel this post so hard, and I love you even more for writing it. xo


Thanks for talking about it. My anxiety levels have been so high lately. I hope you find a solution soon. Take care of you.


No kidding, me too. Thank you, you brave and admirable woman, for your words. I dread the day that you get tired of us, the Amalytes, and stop writing.


Comfort and ease to you. Thank heavens you got the unhelpful hormone stick removed. (I have never been as crazy as I was on one particular progesterone pill. Well, baby hormones probably made me as crazy but it was the 'isn't my little peanut the most beautiful baby in the world?!!!' kind.)

I recommend a news diet if possible. Try it for a couple of days you might like it for longer. Also you should read all the Samantha Irby you can get your hands on.




Hugs Amy! I started seeing a therapist a few months ago for severe anxiety and depression. It felt good just knowing I'd taken steps to help myself. It's not a quick fix of course. And I've had to stop going recently due to finances but it's kinda helpful knowing that I could go back if I really felt unable to cope. But I really commend you for speaking up! Mental health is soooo important and it's not given the respect it deserves (like, insurance coverage...) xxoo


Just a (mostly) anonymous internet stranger stopping in to offer support. So glad you have the help and support you need. And so glad you are willing to share your story here. I'm sure one of the reasons that so many of us online relate to you is that depression and anxiety are much more common than we admit as a society. I've suffered with anxiety since childhood, and depression since my teenage years. And I really wish I had known back then that what I was feeling was normal but not normal--know what I mean? There's no reason you have to feel bad, even though so many of us do, from time to time. So, thanks. You're wonderful.

Ann Coleman

I HEARD that. BC pills probably did a number on me my whole life, meanwhile I am living and loving my Mirena. I won't even touch how I think my brain might woke. Let's just say I'm a fan of therapy and medication and whatever else makes you work for you and yours.


I'm so sorry you're struggling. I also have a long history of anxiety and depression and I know how rough it can all be. Take good care of yourself. I think we as women work so hard to take care of everything and everyone around us that we frequently neglect ourselves and our own needs. Try not to, and I will do the same. 💜


I feel so badly for you because I feel exactly the same way. On the Vit D, saw the shrink, out of control anxiety. I'm going to vote on Monday to see if it helps.

I hope you feel better soon. It's pretty fucking awful. Thanks for writing about it because it always helps to know someone understands!!


I'm so glad you are getting help. That is the hardest step. My thoughts are with you.


I get anxiety just thinking of raising my hand, but I'm creeping it up. I refuse to watch the debate tonight, instead I'm watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" because that is what will make me feel some calm, even if it's temporarily. It's a looong, windy, scary, motherfucking bitch of a road to navigate, and sometimes you'll feel you're going to drive right off a cliff, but there is some peace at the end of it. Stay on the road! YOU'RE WORTH IT!


Wow. I related to this so hard. Thank you.

Fraulein N

I'm all for Better Living Through Chemistry, but it is awful that there are so many doctors throwing drugs at people and essentially lying about what harm they might cause. I noped out on election news a while ago (a lot still creeps in, but I am certainly not seeking it out), and I noped out on hormonal birth control for the same reason. I have to think about my mental health. I'm sure there are a lot of people who do just fine on BC, but I have heard too many horror stories to risk it with my naturally effed-up brain.

Glad you're on the warpath against your anxiety. Sometimes that's what it takes. Good luck.


This is legitimately the reason I've been putting off getting the Mirena until after this election cycle is over. My anxiety about it has entered my DREAMS. Also, this reminds me that I need to get my SAD light back in rotation over here.

I hope that this passes quickly and easily. <3


Amy - my first child will be one in December. Months ago, I wrote in to your Advice Smackdown on Alphamom about his really horrible sleep habits. The first thing you told me was relax, it'll be ok. I cried from relief that somebody was responding to me and telling me I would make it. I was in such a dark place and you were like "yo, I gotchu." A couple months after that I finally went to my doctor and got on meds and was officially diagnosed with PPD and PPA. And was told that I was not, in fact, going crazy, and it was a medical issue that my doctor and I could handle together. I still have bad days, sometimes bad weeks, but there has been much improvement. And the beginning of that chain reaction was you reaching out to me. So now, while you are feeling down and out, I want to tell you from the bottom of my heart that you will be ok. You got this. You're so self aware and you have such an amazing attitude toward life, and you're a person who brings so much joy to others. I know I am one of many internet fans, another person that will never have a face to go with a name, but you don't know how much you helped me start climbing out of my hole, and I sincerely hope that the messages of love and support you're getting here will do the same for you. <3 <3 <3


Not that it's a cure for depression, but remember that you bring joy to so many people. Not just your family and friends, but all these people on the interweb who come back here time and again because you are a great, funny and real writer. I am sorry that all of the things have added up to you not feeling well right now. You're on the right track. Step by step, deal with all of the things that are adding up to this wrongness, and eventually the total will get better. If that means not following the news, then don't follow the news. Not doing something you used to do can be just as powerful a change as doing something new.


You know, I noticed something was off for a few weeks. The posts were getting less personal, and until recently, less frequent. I was afraid it was a divorce or something, so I was always relieved to see pictures of you and Jason together. I hope things improve for you.

After my baby was born, I started taking the low-dose birth control pill, which everyone said had no hormonal side effects. Everyone except you (I think it was an Alphamom article). I've never had anxiety or depression issues before, but a few days each month, I was not interested in life, couldn't stop crying, etc. My doctor said I didn't meet the criteria for a PPD diagnosis, but she did agree that maybe it was the pill and gave me some other options. Things were noticeably better the next month. So, thank you.

Amy A

I too am hypersensitive to any type of synthetic hormone. I had horrible panic disorder back in the 80s, after a trial of a BCP that --haha-- was not supposed to affect anything bc it was low estrogen. This was before the Internet and before antidepressants and Xanax. What I learned through exhaustive research back in the day is that nutrition, focused breathing, and regular exercise do help a lot with reducing anxiety.
That was in my twenties. I'm now in my fifties, and have been through menopause and - hallelujah!!! I no longer need to take an antidepressant or any type of anti-anxiety drug.
Doctors will tell you all sorts of shit, but listen to your body and know that you are hypersensitive, as well.
Hormonal fluctuations are no easy thing. I'm sure you will do much better being off anything. Just food for thought-- you could possibly be entering the perimenopausal stage, which can induce anxiety, as well. But again, good nutrition and regular exercise can help tremendously with that, as well.


Thank you for your honesty. Just think random strangers will be fighting for you - with you. You have described exactly how I have been feeling for a loooong time but have not wanted to admit to anyone- even myself. I know my husband doesn't get it, and I don't know why I feel like I owe it to him and my sons to just fake it. For me no hormones, routine exercise, no watching/discussing political bs has been helpful to some degree, but still.... Anyway- thanks again


Take care and be well.


I just powered back up with the help of some new meds. Once I became aware of the situation, I made my life VERY small and manageable. Including no news, no FB, no social media or phone calls or anything but largely mindless TV. It helped. Hope your storm passes soon.


This may not help you feel any better right now, but I would bet that reading your post helped a lot of people today. And that's great. So when you are feeling better, I hope you feel good about that. Take care of you.


I had a rough year last year. I've always had issues with anxiety, but last year it reached epic levels. My PCP switched me from Zoloft to Prozac. If I wasn't in the middle of an extreme panic attack (vomiting, hyperventilating), I was crying in the shower, or fantasizing about veering my car in front of a mac truck. I wound up in the ER several times, and then finally in an institution for about a week as they switched my meds and got the levels just right. This is way to much information for you, considering I am a stranger to you (even though in my mind we are BFFs!), but the point is, good for you for confronting the problem and seeking help. I hope your health care providers are helpful, and that they are good listeners. Things can be tough, but they CAN get better. Good job seeking help.


Hey Amy, just adding my virtual voice to the others who said it so eloquently above. You got this. And we're all rooting for you. Signed, Prozac for 14 years but still needed a Klonopin last week.
P.S. I love the aromatherapy commenter.


Anxiety hit me hard two weeks ago. I started seeing doctors. So, yeah, me too.


Thinking of you - and so sorry to hear it's such a tough time for you. HUGS from your big virtual fan club! We feel you and are here for you.


Sending hugs. Hope things feel brighter and better soon.

Deb d

Me too✋


What they said. Hugs, and whatever else helps you feel better.


As a young adult reading this who is just not starting to deal with my mental health issues (largely anxiety), thank you. This helps me feel less alone.


Thanks for telling us, thanks for being you, thanks for all you have done to cheer me up during my many sad days. Wish I could return the favor. Thinking of you.


*Hugs* This too shall pass (with time, medical help, and therapy). And this is the reason that I don't take birth control pills, in any form -- I get depression as a side effect, no matter what kind I use. I figure, the DH can man up and take care of birth control; better a little latex (or a snip!) than a depressive episode. Remember, you got this!


Thanks so much for being so real, Amy. I have been diagnosed multiple times as being "one point away from manic depressive," which I'm never sure is said in a, "Whew," or an, "Oh dear," tone of voice. I can never bring myself to blog about it, though, and I am in awe of people who are able to put it out there like you do. Hope you come out of your slump soon.


Prayers. I went through a rough time when my Dr prescribed a very strong bcp to help heavy periods, it helped those but made me angry and sad all the time, almost lost my job.


Hugs. It sounds pull-yourself-together, simplistic and old fashioned (sorry!) but - fresh air and exercise might help a bit, especially if your exercise regime has got waylaid recently. Also getting outdoors more = more sunlight = extra vitamin D.

Liz G

Didn't you just get a concussion about a week ago? You might like to google post concussion syndrome. Anxiety is one of the symptoms. Your already-existing anxiety could be exacerbated by the injury. Maybe at least mention it to your doctor. Also, I am glad you're getting the BC taken out. I hope it helps. Finally, I want to say thanks for sharing your life with us. I found you when you were pregnant with Ike, and i was trying for my first, I have read you regularly ever since. Also, many hugs. I hope you feel better soon.

Laura in Michigan

I have a SAD light and it helps. Hugs for you too


Just another one of many pulling hard for you!


Therapist can help a ton. Good self care move. My opinion on anti anxiety and sleep meds is they should always be prescribed by a psychiatrist. Most therapists have specific ones they partner. And it is important to find one with excellent diagnostic skills. Makes a huge difference in getting on and maintaining the right meds. (Yes, GP's and the like will prescribe these meds, but they should not be, it should always be a psychiatrist).

Dori P

Internet stranger hugs to you. Do what ever you need to do!


Zoloft is my friend. Best decision I made was to go on it, and stay on it while pregnant. I'm abstractly thinking about going off of it now, but it has made such a radical difference in my life.

Katie H.

Good for you in not only reaching out, but getting something done about it! That's the hardest part if you ask me. I've been 'round and 'round the prescription merry go round many a time and it sucks, but when you finally get relief, it's all worth it. Hang in there - tons of virtual hugs coming your way!!!!! <3


You are brave to put this out there. So brave. It needs to be discussed, and shining a light on it is a hard, strong thing to do. Good job.


Stress is real and this election is seriously brutal. Good thing there are helpers out there. I'm going for some too.


*also raises hand* Yes. Solidarity, sister. Keep your head up. xo


I'm so sorry to hear you are going through all this. Major thank you for speaking out about it. When I have been struggling with depression and/or anxiety it made such a difference to feel not alone. As you already know, you will get through it. It will be ok again. I hope you feel back to yourself really soon!


The nothingness is real, man. (As soon as I typed the nothing, my mind went to The Neverending Story and the nothing and I felt better for a minute and thought it'd make you smile too, so I'm typing parenthetically and yet the nothingness has returned so I'm sorry and gonna log off now.)


Holy sh*t. I feel like I've found my tribe. Another tribe. Whatever. I have many tribes.
I had Nexplanon inserted in January. Looking back I realize that I've felt like sh*t since February. Irregular cycles that last 10+ days, weight gain, more anxiety than usual, moodiness, and severe depressive episodes that laugh at my puny little Cymbalta. My home started looking like an episode of Hoarders because clutter. Clutter everywherre and I just don't care. All of that before my father died unexpectedly in August...since then it's been a struggle every minute of every day.
I'm sorry for your experiences (yay though for having it removed) but in a way I'm relieved to have checked your blog and read this. Maybe it's not just me.


Anxiety and severe side effect times, yep. It is the shits but good for you for taking steps, and thanks for sharing. It's easier to carry when you don't have to carry it alone.


This year has been a shit storm I'm hoping there is a light at the end of it.

Amy in StL

Interesting that you bring this up. I've struggled with depression my whole adult life; I literally can vaguely remember being different in my teens. I've also been on the pill since I was 18. My doctor last fall put me on a different pill and my depression was terrible last fall so I dug out my SAD light and it got better. I mean a little better but the holidays were not jolly. However, there was a lot going on last year. This summer I took myself off the pill altogether and I feel... different. My dad's side of the family struggles with depression so I'm sure there's a genetic component to this - however I think not being on the pill has helped bring my 17 year old self back. More confident, less giving a shit about how others feel (or rather paranoid about how they feel). Hopefully without the crushing periods and acne. Acne and wrinkles are terrible together! We'll see; but I'm glad that maybe you've figured out your shit too - good luck!


Love and hugs!

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